Attention!
10 million Ukrainians without power because of Russia. Help us purchase electrical generators for churches.
Consider helping today!

Bible Commentaries

Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Psalms 105

Psalms 105

In Psalms 105:1-7, we have the theme: the judgments and the wonders of God in the past as the foundation of joyful hope for the future. Next the development: God always remembers the promise of the permanent possession of Canaan which he imparted to the fathers of the nation, Psalms 105:8-12. Faithful to this promise he protected the fathers in every danger, Psalms 105:13-15. It was under his wonderful guidance that Jacob the bearer of the promise came with his family to Egypt, Psalms 105:16-23, and was afterwards delivered from it by great wonders and signs, Psalms 105:24-28, which are represented in detail, Psalms 105:29-38: the destruction of the useful fishes, and the introduction of the destructive frogs, flies, and gnats, Psalms 105:29-31; hail, ruinous to the trees, and locusts to the plants, Psalms 105:32-35; and, finally, the death of the first-born, Psalms 105:36-38. After that, we have the wonders of God in the wilderness, Psalms 105:39-42, and the introduction of the Israelites into Canaan, Psalms 105:43-45.

The beginning and the conclusion consist each of a strophe of seven verses, divided by the four and the three. Of the remaining thirty-one verses, the twenty-third is not counted, “and Israel came to Egypt, and Jacob sojourned as a pilgrim in the land of Ham.” This verse, which forms the point of connection between the past and the present, stands out of the formal arrangement. There remain, therefore, three decades. These are grouped on both sides round Psalms 105:23, as the middle point. The five forms both times the beginning, Psalms 105:8-12, and Psalms 105:24-28, the ten is both times, Psalms 105:13-22, and Psalms 105:29-38, divided by a three, four, three, or by a three and a seven, which, again, as in the introduction and conclusion, falls into a four and three.

It is announced in the Introduction that the object of the Psalm is to awaken the Church to joyful hope for the future, by the consideration of the wonders of God in the past. This general object assumes a specific form in the development. The author does not introduce the whole series of the wonders of God, but concludes as soon as Israel has obtained possession of Canaan. Out of the whole storehouse of the promises of God vouchsafed to the patriarchs, only one is brought prominently forward, namely, that concerning the possession of Canaan. Everything revolves round this. The wonders and the judgments have all, for their ultimate design, the fulfilment of this promise. The matter of the abode in Egypt, however, is considered by the author as of particular importance in treating of the fulfilment of these promises. He depicts, particularly, how this abode was brought about. He renders prominent, with most manifest design, the clause, “Israel came to Egypt,” as the most significant point of the whole Psalm; he speaks at great length of the wonders and signs by which Israel was delivered from Egypt. He takes very little notice of what was done subsequent to this, throwing it merely into the conclusion, and treating of it very briefly and superficially.

All these facts are sufficiently explained as soon as we assume the composition of the Psalm to belong to the period of the Babylonish captivity,—a period which extends its sway even to the Psalms 106 Psalm, with which ours is inseparably connected. At this period, the promise of Canaan given to the fathers, and the doings of God in early times, in fulfilment of that promise, must have exercised a powerful influence on the spirits of men. This faithfulness of God to his promises, which brought Israel out of Egypt, in order to bestow upon him, at the first, his inheritance, must also deliver him out of the Egypt of the present Babylon, in order to restore to him his lost inheritance.

A more perfect connection with Psalms 104 is externally indicated by the circumstance, that, as there, so here also, the Hallelujah, which unquestionably has its original position in these Psalms, forms the conclusion. There are also individual points of contact in addition to the formal arrangement, the characteristic feature of which is, that both Psalms have a middle verse, here in Psalms 105:2 comp. with Psalms 104:34, in Psalms 105:16 comp. with Psalms 104:15. Both Psalms have for their common object to comfort sorely-afflicted Israel. The Psalms 104 Psalm draws the consolation from “meditating upon the wonders of God in nature, our Psalm in history.

The connection of the Psalm with the Psalms 106, which, beginning and ending with the Hallelujah, embraces the two Hallelujahs of the preceding Psalms, is effected by the last verse, in which the ultimate design of Israel’s possessing Canaan, appears as the obeying, on their part, the commandments of God. The following Psalm enters at length into a description of the position which Israel obtained, in order to fulfil this purpose. Psalms 105:23 here comes into contact, in particular expressions, with Psalms 106:22 of Psalms 106.

The historical character of our Psalm is common to it with Psalms 78; the design, however, is different.

The Psalmist there is occupied in endeavouring, by making use of the events of the Mosaic period, to lead the Israelites to repentance, but here to awaken them to faith in the paternal guidance of God. Our Psalm leans upon that one in particular expressions. It would form the subject of an interesting treatise to point out the principles of composition adopted in Scripture. The practice of drawing inferences from a few principles or facts, in the way of similarity and consequence, prevails to a great extent.

Psalms such as ours and the (Psalms 78) 78th show very manifestly how firmly the facts of sacred history were rooted in the Israelitish mind, and how absurd it is to institute any comparison between these facts and the myths or traditions of a heathen antiquity. The material here is unquestionably a given one, over which poetry has no power.

On the previous occurrence of the first 15 verses of this Psalm in 1 Chronicles 16, compare at Psalms 106.

Verses 1-7

Ver. 1. Praise the Lord, call on his name, make known among the nations his mighty deeds. Ver. 2. Sing to him, play to him, meditate upon all his wonderful works. Ver. 3. Glory in his holy name, let the heart of them rejoice who seek the Lord. Ver. 4. Enquire at the Lord and his might, seek his face continually. Ver. 5. Think upon his wonderful works which he has done, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth. Ver. 6. Ye the seed of Abraham his servant, the sons of Jacob his chosen one. Ver. 7. He is the Lord our God, his judgments are over all the earth.

Praise the Lord, Psalms 105:4; comp. Psalms 33:2. Call on his name,—on him according to his historically manifested glory (comp. at Psalms 63:4), in the first instance praising and thanking after the example of Abraham, who, as often as God acquired for himself a name in guiding him, called in solemn worship upon the name of the Lord, Genesis 12:8, Genesis 13:4. On “make known among the nations,” comp. Psalms 18:49, Psalms 57:9. The mighty deeds of God are those out of which his name grows. On “glory ye,” Psalms 105:3, comp. Psalms 34:2, “My soul shall glory in the Lord.” His holy name:—this he has acquired by his glorious deeds on behalf of Israel, for whose future salvation it affords security, and, therefore, it forms for Israel the object of glorying. The world glories in its horses and chariots against the church of God lying in the dust; but the church has something better in which to glory. Let the heart rejoice in midst of deepest trouble; comp. Psalms 33:21, “For our heart rejoices in him because we trust in his holy name.” To seek the Lord is equivalent to “to trust in him,” Psalms 69:6.

Enquire at the Lord and his might, Psalms 105:4, stirred up by the glorious manifestations of these in times past, whether they will not help you even now; comp. Psalms 34:4, Psalms 78:34, 2 Chronicles 16:12, and, in reference to his might at Psalms 63:2, Psalms 78:34. To seek the face of the Lord is to be a candidate for his favour, encouraged by the manifestations of this in ancient times; comp. at Psalms 24:6, Psalms 27:8.

Think upon, Psalms 105:5,—and forget not, Psalms 78:11.

His wonderful works which he has done, Psalms 78:4, Psalms 78:12. The judgments of his mouth,—the deeds of the Lord are neither more nor less than so many matter-of-fact discourses, judicial decisions, such, for example, as the wonders of God in Egypt, which were exactly so many judicial decisions of God in the case of Israel against the Egyptians, or of the church of God against the world; comp. Psalms 119:13, where “all the judgments of thy mouth” means the commandments of God.

Psalms 105:6 grounds the exhortation in Psalms 105:5. Those addressed had good reason to remember these deeds of God; for they are the seed of Abraham, his servant, = his client (not his servants, comp. Psalms 105:42), and, therefore, the legitimate heirs of his promises; the early deeds are for them pledges of a similar deliverance.

The Jehovah in Psalms 105:7 contains the sense of the true Godhead in it, and guarantees infinite power to judge and to help. The expression “His judgments are over the whole earth, or extend over the whole earth,” has its basis in those judgments of God in the past which are more particularly described in the following verses, and its face towards the future, for the God of Israel, as surely as he is Jehovah, will anew manifest himself as the Judge of the earth, Psalms 94:2.

Verses 8-12

Ver. 8. He remembers eternally his covenant, the word which he ordains for a thousand generations. Ver. 9. Which he concluded with Abraham and his oath to Isaac. Ver. 10. And which he appointed to Jacob for a law, to Israel for an eternal covenant. Ver. 11. Saying, to thee will I give the land of Canaan for your inheritance. Ver. 12. When they were small in number, very few and strangers in it.

The preterite stands in Psalms 105:8 on account of the verification in past times of the general position taken up in the following verses. Instead of the covenant in the second clause, we have the word, for the purpose of intimating that the covenant comes into notice here on account of its promises. The word according to what follows is the declaration of the favour or grace of God, on behalf of the chosen family, and especially of the possession of Canaan. It is manifest from Psalms 105:42 that the דבר is still governed by זכר , and that therefore the relative must be supplied “for he remembered his holy word with Abraham his servant.” Which he ordained,—set forth like an inviolable law, Psalms 105:10. To or for a thousand, innumerable generations—a verbal allusion to Deuteronomy 7:9, “who keepeth covenant and mercy for those who love him to a thousand generations,” comp. Exodus 20:6,

In Psalms 105:9-11, the covenant and the word are more particularly described; in reference to those who first received them in Psalms 105:9-10 (the language depending on Deuteronomy 29:12, “as he spoke to thee, and as he swore to thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” comp. Deuteronomy 4:31), and in reference to their contents in Psalms 105:11. It is evident from Psalms 105:42, that we must in Psalms 105:9 expound: he remembers the word which he concluded with Abraham. The כרת is also in Haggai 2:5 connected with the דבר instead of the otherwise common ברית , “the word which I concluded with you when I led you out of Egypt,” and this connection here ought to occasion the less difficulty, as the word according to the parallel is the word of the covenant. “He remembers,” must also be supplied at the second clause. Allusion is made to Genesis 26:3, where God says to Isaac, “Sojourn in the land, and I shall be with thee and bless thee, for to thee and to thy seed I will give all these lands, and fulfil the oath which I swore to Abraham thy father.”

On העמיד with the accusative of the thing, and the dative of the person, Psalms 105:10, compare at Psalms 30:7. The expression, “And he appointed to him,” is equivalent to “and he remembered the oath which he appointed.” On לחק Ven.: “that it might retain perennial vigour like some solemnly proclaimed decree.” Allusion is made to Genesis 28:13, where God says to Jacob, “I am the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac, the land whereon thou liest I will give it to thee and to thy seed,” and to Genesis 35:12, where he says to Israel, “the land which I have given to Abraham, I will give to thee, and to thy seed after thee will I give this land.”

To thee will I give,” Psalms 105:11,—so said God to each individual of the above-mentioned three, hence in the second clause “for your inheritance,” compare at Ps. 77:55. The following verse shows that we are not to regard the plural as having any reference to the descendants.

When they were small in number,—a “little flock,” who could do nothing themselves to bring about the fulfilment of the promise, who might easily have perished without leaving a trace behind them, had not the mighty arm of him who had made the promises been wielded over them. Thus was it also again at the time of the composition of this Psalm: in 1 Chronicles 16:19, when ye were in your fathers, this allusion is directly applied to present circumstances. Allusion is made to Genesis 34:30: “And I am few in number, and they may easily gather themselves together against me, and slay me and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.” The כמעט is properly like a few, comp. Isaiah 1:9. The ideal magnitude to which the real here corresponds is the few, not the many. What resembles the original idea of fewness must be few indeed.

Verses 13-22

Ver. 13. And they went from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another nation. Ver. 14. He permitted no man to do them harm, and punished kings for their sakes. Ver. 15. “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” Ver. 16. And he called hunger upon the land, he broke every staff of bread. Ver. 17. He sent before them a man, Joseph was sold for a servant. Ver. 18. They tormented his feet with fetters, his soul came into iron. Ver. 19. Until the time when his word came, the word of the Lord cleared him.

Ver. 20. Then the king sent and released him, the ruler of the nations, and set him free. Ver. 21. He made him Lord over his house, and ruler over all his possessions. Ver. 22. That he might bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his ancients wisdom.

Ver. 23. And Israel came to Egypt, and Jacob sojourned as a pilgrim in the land of Ham.

In Psalms 105:13-15 we have the providence of God watching over those who first received the promises, by which was declared the possibility of the fulfilment of these promises. T hey wandered from nation to nation, Psalms 105:13, and therefore from danger to danger; the waters of the heathen world would have overflowed them, had it not been for the protecting hand of God. Everywhere, in Canaan itself, among the Philistines, among the Egyptians, it was only this hand which turned away all danger from the patriarchs. He punished kings for their sakes,

Pharaoh, in Genesis 12:17, and Abimelech in Genesis 20:3, ss., to whose case chiefly the allusion is made, as is evident from the reproof quoted in Psalms 105:15. On “touch not,” Psalms 105:15, comp. Genesis 26:2, where Abimelech says of Isaac, “whoever touches this man and his wife shall be put to death,” comp. G 26:29. The anointing is in the Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament the standing symbol and type (the latter, for example, in 1 Kings 19:16, Isaiah 61:1) of the communication of the gifts of the Spirit; see the proof of this in the Christol. P. p. 444 ss. Mine anointed,—therefore, the vessels of my Spirit (comp. Genesis 41:38, where Pharaoh says of Joseph, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?”), the bearers of my revelation. The parallel and the whole connection show that the discourse here is of the prophetic gifts of the Spirit. The translation “my confidants,” as “a vague common honorary title,” is a piece of nonsense. “Do my prophets no harm” depends upon Genesis 20:7, where God says to Abimelech, “And now give the man back his wife, for he is a prophet, and if he pray for thee thou shalt live.” The נביא means properly the “God-spoken:” the nature of prophecy is a divine address. The language already used in Psalms 105:11 refers to this; Genesis 15 relates how Abraham received such addresses in both the forms peculiar to prophecy, vision and dream. Isaac had a prophetical dream at Beersheba; Jacob at Bethel. The latter as a prophet saw at Mahanaim the angels of God, and wrestled with the Lord at Jabbok. Prophetic revelations form the basis of the blessing of Isaac and Jacob. Our passage is of importance as a proof that נביא does not denote, as is commonly said, an orator of God, but that the form maintains its usual passive sense. The prophets were not “inspired orators,” except in the isolated case of the above-mentioned two blessing addresses, which, according to Psalms 105:11, do not here come specially into view, but God-bespoken men, recipients of divine communications, and in so far vessels of honour, which the world durst not touch with impunity.

In Psalms 105:16-23 we have the introduction into Egypt of the bearers of the promise, in circumstances which manifestly showed that the hand of God was there in operation, and that the promise of God was not by this broken, but on the contrary, that its fulfilment was by this means brought about.

The land in Psalms 105:16 is the land in which the patriarchs sojourned, and which had been promised to them, Psalms 105:11-12. The staff comes into notice as the support, comp. Psalms 104:15, “And bread supporteth man’s heart.” The words are from Leviticus 26:26, “if I break for you the staff of bread,” on which Isaiah 3:1 depends.

At the first clause of Psalms 105:17, comp. Genesis 45:5, where Joseph says to his brethren, “And now be not distressed because you sold me, for God sent me before you for a support,” Genesis 50:20. On the second clause, Genesis 37:34. The exceeding copiousness of detail with which the Psalmist speaks of Joseph gives rise to the idea that he had before his mind a counterpart to Joseph in the Egypt of the present time. We might suppose that he alluded to the ten tribes, who are spoken of by the name of Joseph in Psalms 80:1, but the description will not suit this Joseph, for he had nothing in common with the old one except the single circumstance that he was taken to Egypt before Judah. It is not told in history that he prepared for him a city there. On the other hand, an astonishing light breaks in upon the picture, if we look at the second Joseph in Daniel. The striking similarity between Joseph and Daniel is clear as day. Daniel had been led away into captivity in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; an interpretation of a dream procured for hint an influential position, which put it within his reach to promote the welfare of his captive brethren, whose pride he was according to the testimony of Ezekiel, and finally, to effect their deliverance. That Joseph was fettered in prison, Psalms 105:18, is expressly said in Genesis 40:3; comp. also Genesis 39:20, Genesis 39:22, according to which all the prisoners in the king’s prison were bound. [Note: It has been maintained without any reason, that אסר also signifies to make captive, to keep in custody any one not bound. Custody without bonds was not common.] Still his fetters were assuredly light, after he obtained the favour of the keeper of the prison, Genesis 39:21, ss. The miserable condition of Joseph as a prisoner, and his subsequent deliverance, are described at such length, because the Psalmist sees in him a picture of “those bound in misery and iron,” Psalms 107:10. The Keri, his foot, depends on the miserable ground that the fetter is singular. That the ברזל is the accusative is clear from the simple ground that it is masculine. The whole person is denoted by the soul, (at Psalms 103:5), because the soul of the captive suffers still more than the body. Imprisonment is one of the most severe trials to the soul. Even to spiritual heroes, such as a Savonarola and St Cyran (Ste Beuve hist. de Port. royal, P. i.), the waters often go over the soul.

The word of Joseph (the suffix refers everywhere to Joseph in this connection) is that by which he interpreted to the royal servants their dreams in prison; comp. Genesis 41:13, “And as he interpreted so it happened, me he restored to my place, and him he hanged,” and also the ( Genesis 41:14) 14th verse, “then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they took him out of the prison, and he shaved his beard and changed his clothes and came to Pharaoh.” As the verification of the interpretation of the dreams on the part of Joseph and his deliverance are connected together as cause and effect, no notice is taken of the interval of two years which elapsed between them, Genesis 41:1. The word of the Lord in the second clause is, according to Psalms 105:11 and Psalms 105:42, the promise of the possession of Canaan, the accomplishment of which demanded the preceding residence in Egypt. The purifying of Joseph in the eyes of men, the establishment of his character, is attributed to the living and powerful word of God, because it happened on account of it. The words depend upon Psalms 18:30, “the word of the Lord (his promise) is purified:” the word of the Lord, because pure, purified; and it was the reference to that passage which led to the strange expression.

On Psalms 105:21 comp. Genesis 41:40-41, and as the most exactly accordant fundamental passage, Genesis 45:8.

The figurative expression, to bind, in Psalms 105:21, was occasioned by the reference to “his soul came into iron,” in Psalms 105:18: the soul once bound now binds princes. That the expression is not to be taken in a literal sense, is evident not only from the parallel but also from the fundamental passages, in which no mention is any where made of imprisonment, but always only of obedience; compare Genesis 41:44, “without thee no man shall move his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt,” but especially Genesis 41:40, “thou shalt be over my house, and all my people shall kiss thy mouth.” Besides we have בנפשו , which, according to the בכבל in Psalms 105:18, and the usual sense of the ב after the verb of binding, Psalms 149:8, must be explained with his soul, so that the soul is what binds the fetter. On the second clause, comp. Genesis 41:39, where Pharaoh declares Joseph to be the man of the greatest understanding and wisdom, and on the ground of this exalts him to the highest honour.

That Jacob in Psalms 105:23 is the man, is manifest from “his people” in Psalms 105:24. Still he came with his whole house, Genesis 45. The verse is an appendage to Psalms 105:16; Jacob came on the occasion of a famine, Psalms 105:16, and was introduced by Joseph who had risen to the highest honour, Psalms 105:17-22. He sojourned, Genesis 47:4. In the land of Ham, Psalms 78:51.

Verses 24-28

Ver. 24. And he made his people very fruitful, and stronger than their enemies. Ver. 25. He turned their heart to hate his people, to use subtlety against his servants. Ver. 26. He sent Moses his servant, Aaron whom he chose. Ver. 27. They laid down beside them all his signs and wonders in the land of Ham. Ver. 28. He sent darkness, and made it dark, and they resisted not his word.

On Psalms 105:24, comp. Genesis 17:6, Genesis 28:3, Exodus 1:7, Exodus 1:9. Berleb: “Behold there the concealed blessing in the secret of the cross. Under it here the people of God are in the most fruitful state.” The expression “he made them strong,” does not refer to the mere increase of numbers, but, as is evident from the clause, “more in number and stronger than we,” of the fundamental passage, to the strength arising from this increase.

In Psalms 105:25 the great rationalism of Lutheran theology in regard to the relation of God to the wicked, comes out in the many forced translations and arbitrary expedients which have been had recourse to in connection with the passage; compare on the co-operation of God in evil, which for example brings it about that a certain person writes a life of Jesus instead of gratifying his evil passions in another way, Beitr. 3, p. 462 ss., and at Psalms 51:5. [Note: Calvin: “We see that it is deliberately propounded by the prophet that the whole government of the church is subject to God. . . . And this is expressly affirmed, lest we should think that the hearts of the wicked run freely on to our destruction. But this ought to be sufficient for us that, whatever plots the devil end wicked men may lay against us, God restrains their efforts; faith is doubly confirmed when we hear that, not only their hands, but even their hearts and their minds are held bound, so that they cannot even lay a single plan except what God permits.”] He turned, Psalms 105:25, (comp. 1 Samuel 10:9), in order that he might furnish an opportunity for the display of his wonderful power. In like manner, according to Isaiah 43:17, God led out Pharaoh and his hosts to pursue the Israelites. The Hithp. of נכל occurs elsewhere only in Genesis 37:18, where it is used of the wicked plots of Joseph’s brethren against him. It corresponds to the נתחכמה in Exodus 1:10.

Psalms 105:27 is according to Psalms 78:43. The things of his signs,—the whole number of them, Psalms 145:5, and at Psalms 65:3.

The sending of darkness in Psalms 105:28 is to be taken in a figurative sense = the impending displeasure and misery; the Egyptians were, in this sense, covered with darkness from the first to the last plague. The second-last plague in Egypt, Exodus 10:22-23, is only alluded to. This plague was well-fitted to serve as the basis for such a figurative representation, as even in the Mosaic account it manifestly bears a symbolical character, from which the singular prominence given to darkness admits of being explained: the darkness which covered Egypt was an image of the divine wrath; comp. Egypt and the Books of Moses, p. 123. Against the idea that the ninth plague comes into notice here in the same way in which the others do, which are mentioned in the following verses, may be urged the formal arrangement—it would not be glanced at in a general way, but would, like the rest, have a separate part assigned to it—next, the circumstance that the following plagues, with the insignificant exception of the plague of the gnats and flies, are introduced in their historical order, and finally, the completely decisive ground, that, even by this plague, the heart of Pharaoh was not broken; to which, therefore, the second clause is not suitable, whereas it becomes perfectly suitable, as soon as the darkness is considered as comprehending the ten plagues, and, of course, the destruction of the first born; comp. Psalms 105:36, which corresponds to the second clause here. Several interpreters, to get out of the difficulty, refer the second clause, in a most unsatisfactory manner, to Moses and Aaron. A similar figurative use of darkness, finally, occurs, for example, in Isaiah 45:7, “Making light and creating darkness, making peace and creating evil,” Isaiah 50:3, “I will clothe the heaven in darkness.” The הח‍?שיךְ?‍? never means “to be dark,” always “to make dark,” comp. Amos 5:8, “He makes the day dark into night,” also Psalms 139:12, Jeremiah 13:16, “before he make it dark.” The margin, “his word,” instead of “his words,” has proceeded merely from a misapprehension of the obviously correct sense, and of the meaning arising from it, that the discourse here can be only of a single word of God, either to the Egyptians or to Moses and Aaron.

Verses 29-38

Ver. 29. He changed their water into blood, and killed their fish. Ver. 30. He filled their land with frogs, in the chambers of their kings. Ver. 31. He spake, there came vermin, midges in all their boundaries.

Ver. 32. He gave hail for their rain, flaming fire in their land. Ver. 33. And destroyed their vine and their fig-tree; and brake the trees of their boundaries. Ver. 34. He spake, there came locusts, and caterpillars without number. Ver. 35. And they consumed all the grass in their land, and consumed the fruit of their field.

Ver. 36. And he smote all the first born, in their land, the firstlings of all strength. Ver. 37. And he led them out with silver and gold, and there was no one that stumbled among their tribes. Ver. 38. Egypt was glad when they went out, for fear had fallen upon them.

This representation of the Egyptian plagues in detail, which terminates in the same way in Psalms 105:38, in which the general view did in Psalms 105:28, falls into two groups of three and seven verses, of which the last is again divided by a four and a three. Of the ten plagues of Egypt, only seven are mentioned, the omissions being the fifth and the sixth, the destruction of the cattle and the boils, and the ninth, the darkness, the same which are omitted in Psalms 78. Four plagues are allotted to the first group, and three to the second, two of which are described in the first portion, while the second is wholly filled up with the last decisive plague.

That in Psalms 105:29 the emphasis lies upon the result, the death of the fish, is clear from the consideration, that in this way unity is imparted to this first group;—he deprived them of their beloved fish, and gave them, in and out of the water, hated frogs, and in addition to this, upon their land abominable flies and gnats. Psalms 78:44, Exodus 7:18, Exodus 7:21, are to be compared

On the second clause of Psalms 105:30, comp, Ex. 7:28. Their kings,—because the king represented kings, and dwelt in the king’s palace.

In Psalms 105:31, the little midges, which are wholly omitted in Psalms 78 (comp. on כנים Egypt, p. 113), must take precedence of the larger flies, Psalms 78:45.

In the first division of the second group, in the transition from the animal to the vegetable kingdom, the hail which destroyed the trees, and the locusts which destroyed the plants, are bound together in one pair;—the whole food of the people was thus destroyed, Genesis 1:29.

In Psalms 105:32, the allusion to Leviticus 26:4, “And I give you rain in its season,” shows that נתן is to be taken in the sense of to give and not t o make for anything:—he gave to them as their rain, or instead of the mild fertilizing rain which he gives to his people in its season, destructive hail with lightning, a fine gift if they would consider it as such. On the second clause, comp. Psalms 78:48.

In reference to the vine, in Psalms 105:33, comp. at Psalms 78:47.

In Psalms 105:34 ילק the licker, stands in parallel with the locust, as does חסיל , the gnawer—both poetical epithets of the locust; comp. the Christol. 3, p. 351.

On Psalms 105:35, comp. Exodus 10:5.

In Psalms 105:36, the divine vengeance proceeds from the food of man to man himself; comp. “he smote” here with the same word in Psalms 105:33. The ninth plague must be left out because it destroyed this progress. It is omitted for a similar reason in Psalms 78. For the same reason, the ravages which the hail made among the cattle are not alluded to. Psalms 78:51 is to be compared: “He smote all the first born in Egypt, the firstlings of the strength in the tents of Ham.” The borrowing here cannot fail to be observed.

With silver and gold,—the silver and golden vessels of the Egyptians, which they received from them at their departure as presents; comp. Beitr. 3. p. 507 ss. The second clause depends upon Exodus 13:18, “And the children of Israel went strong out of the land of Egypt,” comp. Isaiah 5:27.

On Psalms 105:38, comp. Exodus 11:1, Exodus 12:31-33, according to which Pharaoh sent away the children of Israel by neck and shoulder, “for they said, We shall all die.” On the second clause, Exodus 15:16, Deuteronomy 11:25.

Verses 39-45

Ver. 39. He spread out a cloud for a covering, and fire during the night to give light. Ver. 40. They asked, he caused quails to come, with the bread of heaven he satisfied them. Ver. 41. He opened the rock, waters gushed out, ran in dry places like a river. Ver. 42. For he remembered his holy word with Abraham his servant.

Ver. 43. And thus he led out his people with joy, his chosen ones with a shout. Ver. 44. And gave to them the lands of the heathen, and they received the labour of the nations. Ver. 45. So that they should have observed his statutes, and kept his laws. Halleluja.

He spread out a cloud for a covering, Psalms 105:39, namely, during their journeys; for while they lay encamped, it rested over the tabernacle. Numbers 10:34, ought to be compared: “And the cloud of the Lord was over them by day, when they rose up from their encampment.” In the burning wilderness the cloud was a protection to the congregation of the Lord against the sun (comp. Isaiah 4:5-6, an emblem of the protection of the favour of God which at all times watches over his church (comp. the interpretation given by Isaiah in other passages); and during the night the pillar of cloud and fire enlightened the darkness, an emblem of the light which the Lord makes to shine at all times upon the darkness of the misery of his church. The spreading out does not suit the second clause; we have, therefore, a Zeugma. That לילה is an adverb is evident from Numbers 9:16, “The cloud covered it and the appearance of fire by night,” where, as here, “by day” is omitted; and also from Exodus 13:21. Psalms 78:14, ought to be compared.

The שאל in Psalms 105:40 is impers. they asked. In reference to the quails, comp. Psalms 78:26-27, and the manna, Psalms 78:22-25. The bread of heaven is from Exodus 16:4; comp. Psalms 78:24-25. On “He satisfies them,” comp. Exodus 16:3; Exodus 16:8; Exodus 16:12.

On Psalms 105:41, comp. Psalms 78:20, on ציה Psalms 78:17, on נהר Psalms 78:16.

For he remembered, Psalms 105:42, Berleb.: “That we may again come to the fountain from which have flowed so many and so great acts of kindness on the part of God towards his people.” The holy = glorious word of God, far above all feebleness and deceit,—is the word regarding the possession of Canaan, comp. Psalms 105:8 and Psalms 105:11. The fundamental passage is Exodus 2:24, “And God remembered his covenant with Abraham, and with Isaac, and with Jacob;” comp. “which he confirmed with Abraham,” Psalms 105:9. We cannot translate “ to Abraham,” for the word is not one which God merely uttered, but one which he gave.

On Psalms 105:44, comp. Psalms 78:55.

On Psalms 105:45, Deuteronomy 4:40, Deuteronomy 26:17, Psalms 78:7. The observance of the commandments of God by Abraham appears even in Genesis 18:19, as the object of the covenant. The Psalmist adds at the conclusion a fatal knot. The observance of the commandments of God is the object for which Israel has had given to him possession of Canaan, and these commandments Israel has wilfully violated; the word of God, therefore, regarding the possession of Canaan to the patriarchs, and all that God has done in the days of old in fulfilment of that word, can furnish no support whatever to his hopes. The business of the following Psalm is to untie this knot.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 105". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/heg/psalms-105.html.